November 25, 1997
‘Human billboards’ on bridges alert
Thanksgiving commuters to abuses
at huge Driscoll strawberry firm
Two days before Thanksgiving, hundreds of men and women will become "human billboards" on entrances and exits of five key New York-area bridges and tunnels, holding up signs reminding rush hour commuters about abuses of berry workers a continent away by growers whose fruit is shipped and marketed by California’s giant Driscoll corporation.
Driscoll Strawberry Associates handles about 25% of that state’s $650 million-a-year strawberry crop. Strawberry workers have filed several lawsuits against growers who ship through Driscoll. They allege sex discrimination, forcing pickers to work without pay and failing to notify workers about toxic pesticides applied to the fields where they work.
Tuesday’s event is part of a national effort drawing attention to the plight of California’s 20,000 strawberry workers–5,000 of whom labor for Driscoll growers. They perform back-breaking work for 10 hours a day and average $8,500 per season, usually without health benefits. The Cesar Chavez-founded United farm Workers has been helping strawberry workers organize to chance these conditions.
Who: Hundreds of strawberry worker supporters becoming "human billboards" at entrances and exits to five key New York area bridges and tunnels.
What: Reminding Thanksgiving commuters about abuses of California berry workers by growers who ship and market strawberries through the giant Driscoll corporation.
When: 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 1997.
Where: Manhattan exits of:
-Lincoln Tunnel (Dyer Ave. & 40th St.)
-Queensboro Bridge (2nd Ave. & 59th St.)
-Brooklyn Bridge (near City Hall)
Jersey City entrance of
-Holland Tunnel (12th St. & Milan St.)
Protest leaders will be available to reporters at the Lincoln Tunnel.